The following is extracted from a recent reprint of Hudson Taylor's, Union and Communion: Reflections on the Song of Solomon.
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Throughout most of the history of the Church, the Song of Solomon has been treated primarily as an allegory of Christ’s love for His bride, the Church, and of God’s love for His people. Hudson Taylor, noted Christian missionary to China, similarly expressed this view and penned a small book to unfold the symbols and imagery found in Solomon’s love poem. In so doing, he sets forth in plain language the deep truths of the believer’s personal union with the Lord to foster a greater adoration for, and appreciation toward, the Bridegroom, whom the bride comes to understand more and more and grows in love toward. The vivid language of Solomon also reveals God’s intense desire and purpose—to have deep, loving, and intense fellowship with us.
If Taylor’s primary goal was communicate the commonly neglected and misunderstood book that reveals the beauty of a Bridegroom and His bride’s burning passion to know each other more intimately, he accomplished just that. He gives voice to two lovers—the Lord and His Church—who yearn for each other, who praise each other, who adore each other with greater intensity the more they are in union and communion. Because the language of this greatest of all love songs is so vivid and striking, it has caused many to say in bewilderment with the Ethiopian, “How can I understand unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31, NKJV). It is safe to say Taylor has done just that: he has guided the reader into glorious truths about God’s love that will help those better understand just how deep it really is, which in turn compel us to return such affection and similarly express a love for others.
And by all accounts, the love expressed in Solomon’s poetic writings was similar to the charity Taylor lived. What he herein expounds, he also exemplified. While his reflections on the Song indicate the very real possibility and blessedness of union and communion with Christ, his whole life and ministry declared it in actual experience. He lived, as one contemporary friend of his expressed, as an individual who was “married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead;” and as the outcome of that union he brought forth “fruit to God” (Rom. 7:4, NKJV).
The “fruit to God” to which his friend was referring was to the very real life-long service as he labored in China for more than half a century to bring the good news and love of Christ Jesus to the people in rural and inland China. It was Taylor who founded the China Inland Mission (now operating as, Overseas Missionary Fellowship International) and preached this message of the love of Christ daily in word and deed until his death on June 3, 1905. He was then buried in Changsha, Hunan.
Perhaps few other men could have expressed the intimacy of fellowship with the unseen Lord as well or as clearly as Taylor with as much consistency toward others as he was able to do. Again, as his contemporary explained, he kept his passion for Christ and love for others “undimmed through all the years of a life which has had hardly a parallel in these our days.”
The following short chapters proclaim a glorious truth about our Lord and His love for His bride. These reflections are distilled from Taylor’s own personal experience and form a path that leads directly through this often fenced portion of God’s Word and into the joys of Emmanuel’s land.
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Click here a free copy of Taylor's, Union and Communion from FirstLove Publications.